By now, we’re well aware of just how vital water is to our overall health and wellness. It’s something that’s been shared with us since we were kids. However, many of us don’t drink the recommended amount of water; the biggest reason is that we don’t like the taste of our household water. We try to fix this by buying water filter pitchers and faucet filters, but the truth remains that they only fix the problem sometimes. But what if we told you there’s a better way to filter your water and rekindle your relationship with water? Enter water softeners.
You may have heard the term in passing but are wondering what exactly are water softeners? Despite what it sounds like, water softeners are not like liquid fabric softener for your water; they’re filtration systems or chemical additives used to remove hardness-causing minerals from your water. Water softeners are typically installed inside your home, closest to your water supply entryway.
This ensures that the system has easy access to soften the water you drink and use for daily washing chores! Among the various ways to soften your hard water, these systems are hailed as the least costly and most effective way to rid your water of troublemaker minerals.
Are you interested in learning more about how water softeners work and whether or not you need one? (Spoiler alert: the answer is yes!) Check out our exploration below!
Why Does Water Need Softening?
Every human and pet deserves to experience clean, great-tasting water. Unfortunately, that’s not what everyone is drinking. More than 85 percent of U.S. households suffer from hard water. It’s perhaps, one of the most common water issues we encounter. Most people get their water from municipal water sources, also known as the water department in their respective city.
Although this water is treated and deemed safe to drink, it’s not perfect. It contains chemicals and minerals like fluoride, chlorine, calcium, iron, and magnesium, which can leach into the water supply from the ground or even the pipes that bring it into your home. The presence of these chemicals and minerals results in what we call hard water. It’s responsible for destroying appliances, leaving unsightly white film on your dishes and throughout your bathroom, and leaves your skin and hair feeling dry or unclean. But worst of all is that it creates some not-so-great tasting water.
Simply put, softening our water has a whole list of benefits. Our water needs softening to remove those excess contaminants that, should we ingest too much of, can make us sick or, in rare cases, cause death. Hard water also leads to scaling build-up, which can solidify and clog your pipes, hot water tanks, and other hot water appliances, decreasing their water pressure. It also dramatically shortens the lifespan of beloved appliances like dishwashers, coffee makers, and ice machines. Softening your water can help remedy all of those issues while providing you with filtered water to drink.
How Water Softeners Work
Many people think that they need to use more soap or washing detergent to get their clothes, dishes, and bodies clean, but the culprit is actually the calcium and magnesium present in your hard water. These mineral ions react with the active ingredients found in your household soaps and detergents, resulting in those telltale streaks and grimy feeling. Water softeners effectively remove those minerals from your water through a process called ion exchange.
Water softener systems consist of two tanks: a mineral tank and a backflush tank. Hard water enters the mineral tank and passes through a bed of polystyrene resin beads. These beads are charged with a sodium ion, which has a negative charge. Calcium and magnesium, however, have positive charges. And because opposites attract, when the hard water interacts with the beads, they latch onto the minerals and remove them from the water. At the same time, they release the sodium ions, which flow out with the filtered water and into your home.
For those who may be concerned with how much salt gets added to their water through the ion exchange process, you can rest easy! Approximately 750 MG of sodium gets added to each filtered gallon, which by the Food and Drug Administration’s standards are in the “low sodium” range and approved for consumption. The resin in these beads can remove calcium and magnesium from up to 3,200 gallons of hard water before needing to be replaced. To renew itself, the system goes through a regeneration cycle every few days. It rinses itself with a concentrated sodium chloride mixture, which recharges the beads and flushes out the positive ion minerals through the flushback tank.
Where Do You Find Water Softeners?
There are several ways to fight hard water, including filtering it by distillation, descaling, packaged chemical softeners like powdered borax or washing soda (sodium carbonate). However, the most common ways to fight hard water are reverse osmosis and ion exchange, which can be found in whole house water filtration systems. These are filtration systems that are installed outside of your home and supply filtered water throughout your home. That means every appliance and room in your home can benefit from having crisp, clear, and contaminant-free water. One supplier of such whole house water filtration systems is Puronics. Their collection of residential water systems allows you to choose the method that provides the best solution to water issues including, chlorine, sediment, iron, and acid.
You can also choose between having a water softener filtration system or a reverse osmosis filtration system. Both are reinforced with activated carbon filters to reduce bad taste and odors in your water. As for reverse osmosis, it works by filtering hard or contaminated water through a semi-permeable mesh. As the water passes through the tiny holes in the mesh, atoms from minerals and other contaminants get trapped, too big to fit through the holes. Yet, clean water can flow through with ease. When reverse osmosis and ion exchange work together, they create
The best part of all of this is that if you get a Puronics system installed through our services, our team at the Science of Water can take care of maintenance and replacing any sodium chloride or other components for you! That way, you get to keep enjoying the best water you’ve ever tasted, and we can rest easy knowing your home is well taken care of.
Do I Need a Water Softener?
If you are experiencing situations like the following: you’re using way too much detergent or soap to make your clothes feel clean, don’t like the taste of your water, your shampoo won’t lather correctly, your utility bill costs are steadily climbing, or you feel like you have to repair or replace appliances far too often, chances are you need to invest in a water softener. Hard water is not a problem that goes away on its own, and you don’t want to spend your days frustrated and sinking countless dollars into working around the issue.
Of course, the best way to honestly tell if you need a water softener is by testing your water. There are countless contaminants, chemicals, and minerals that may be lurking in your water, from iron and sulfur to pesticides and chlorine. Taking a water test can reveal all of your water problems and give you an idea of the steps to take to solve your water issues. If you’re looking for a water test, The Science of Water offers free water tests. Simply request one on our website, and we will mail it to you. Complete it, send it in, and we can help you better understand your water.
The Science of Water
The journey to enjoying quality water can be a challenging one. There are so many contaminants and toxins that live in our water, and sometimes it seems like it’s possible to remove them all! But we at the Science of Water are here to let you know that you can rekindle your relationship with water and experience the best water you’ve ever tasted! We are proud installers of Puronics residential water treatment systems, and we’re just as eager as you are to get high-quality water flowing through your home. First, we highly recommend getting a free water test done to ensure we can take care of all the water issues that plague your home.
If you’re interested in taking a free water test or learning more about our services, contact us at (352) 745-7070 or (904) 580-0000.